It’s not like you can hide a 34-storey building from the rest of the city, so the Portside project hasn’t been what you’d call a secret. But the glass-and-concrete behemoth was officially unveiled to the media this week.
At 139m, it’s Cape Town’s tallest building and its first post-Apartheid skyscraper. Co-owned by Rand Merchant Bank and Old Mutual, Portside covers a full city block and is bordered by Buitengracht, Hans Strijdom, Bree and Mechau streets.
While detractors have questioned whether its stark form does anything to back up Cape Town’s selection as the 2014 World Design Capital, Capetonians on the ground are enjoying the updated air it gives to this sector of the city. Its lower level is home to a number of eateries and coffee shops, including Borage Bistro, Active Sushi, the Royal Bavarian Bakery and Hard-Pressed, a vinyl cafe that has your caffeine and records needs covered. Plus there’s a slick new FNB branch (and no sign of Steve).
Most impressive, however, is the fact that Portside is the country’s first skyscraper to receive a four-star rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa. Those clocking in to the
52 000m2 of office space will be treated to 150% more fresh air than the normal standard and enjoy mostly natural lighting, thanks to special glazing.
There are also 70 parking bays restricted to hybrid or alternative-fuel vehicles, provision for 260 bicycles (including secure racks, showers and lockers) and 42 parking bays equipped to charge electric cars.